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Good Overall but not the best tales of William
on 29 June 2013
It seems to me as if the much loved and remembered Richmal Crompton had two versions of William in her literary noddle. There's William that most know - rumbustious, boisterous but with the resulting chaos never really looked for - but there's also another William not so likeable - deeply jealous, vindictive and malicious; this collection is mostly, sadly, tales of the latter. In most of this book, William breaks, steals and lies because he wants to, and I think, possibly, this is what another reviewer has also noticed in relation to his comment that this book didn't seem to contain the William Brown he remembered from years ago.
There are still some brilliant bits, whole chapters even (the Christmas one is excellent), but overall, not the best collection of stories from over the years.
Although it is also obvious across many other William tales, it's something you realise the more William books you read, it did not seem a priority for Richmal Crompton to utilise and maximise William's gang - its members of course, Henry, Douglas and Ginger aka the Outlaws; these do not feature here as such (at least not in 'gang formation'), and the only other character who threatens to scream to the power of three (minus lisp and without throwing up ensuing) is a young boy, Thomas, and not the one forever associated with this threat, Violet Elizabeth - this young lady is nowhere to be seen, but we do get Joan Clive, and she is a lovely support character in the Christmas chapter.
There are better William books than this, and better collections of previously published stories; this is ok, just about, but the other books are better as they feature a less wilfully destructive version of the boy.